Janet Jackson Becomes First Black Woman to Win Billboard Icon Award
Janet Jackson made history by becoming the first black woman to win the Icon Award at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday May 20.
It’s about time right?!
Jackson (or Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty) graced the stage and said, “Give me a beat!” Once she spoke those words, you knew she was about to give us those sick dance moves.
Did you know this was her first televised performance in almost a decade since she performed at the American Music since 2009?
No one would have ever guessed because our girl still got it.
With her golden-brown top knot secured, she performed a medley of her hits including “Nasty”, “If”, and “Throb.”
The 52-year-old singer (yes 52) was introduced by Bruno Mars where he glorified her nearly four decade career by applauding her for impact on the music industry. She is the first and only artist in history to have seven top five hits on one album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, according to AllMusic.com.
For her acceptance speech, Jackson took the opportunity to share her solidarity with the #MeToo movement, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of sexual violence. She encouraged all women and men to continue to speak up against all injustices.
“I believe that for all the challenges, for all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history,” Jackson began.
“It’s a moment when at long last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination who support us in heart and mind.”
Talk that talk girl!
Jackson continued, “This is a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source-that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance, compassion, sensitivity, patience and boundless love.”
Jackson’s speech was right on time and needed for the nearly seven millions viewers to hear. She always spoke up about what she felt was right. Y’all remember her album Control? That album was not just an album but a life statement.
At the time, Jackson made some big changes in her life. She annulled her marriage from singer James DeBarge, cut ties with her father and manager Joseph Jackson, and hired A&M executive John McClain to be her new manager.
She was saying, “Look, this is my life and I’ll do what I want to.”
At 20 years old, she declared her independence. Jackson showed all, especially black women, that’s it’s ok to do what you want even when others may not agree. By being the first black woman to win the award, she is making strides for more artists like herself to take the trophy home.
So, Jackson rightfully deserved the Icon Award and joins artists Stevie Wonder and Prince, past receipts of Billboard’s highest honor.
Jackson ended her speech as only she could do in her soft, gentle tone expressing gratitude to all God and her supporters.
“So again, I want to thank all of you for this honor and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that let’s me live my life as an artist who every single day seeks to expand my capacity to love. Thank you so much.”
I want to hear from you guys. We all have a favorite Janet Jackson song, so let me know what’s yours in the comments below!